MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino on Thursday took a dig at some Cabinet members for only giving him bad news instead of solutions to problems facing the government.
In his speech during the 113th anniversary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Aquino praised Public Works Secretary Rogelio "Babes" Singson for cleaning up the image of the DPWH as one of the most corrupt government agencies.
He noted that Singson is just one of a select group of Cabinet men who always comes with answers to the most pressing needs of the country.
"Sa totoo lang ho, mayroon kasing mga ibang miyembro ng Gabinete—mga dalawa, tatlo—kada makita ko, kaagad iniisip ko, 'Ano kayang bad news ang dala-dala nito?' Pero si Secretary Babes Singson, si [DOST] Secretary Mario Montejo, at marami pang iba; pati na si [Budget] Secretary [Butch] Abad: pag nakikita ko, kadalasan, solusyon ang tangan-tangan. Kaya naman pag humingi ng appointment, mabilis pa sa alas-kuwatro natin ina-approve iyan," he said in his speech.
"Iyong iba ho, ipinipilit ko na lang po na harapin, dahil talagang, kako itong taong ito, talagang penitensya ko na yata sa mundong ito, kaya OK na lang," he said.
Aquino did not say who among his Cabinet men he considers as his "penitence."
During his speech, the President lauded the DPWH for leading efforts to clean up hectares of water hyacinths that are causing massive flooding in Cotabato City. He said water hyacinths in the Rio Grande de Mindanao are so thick that they "looked like an island" blocking the Delta Bridge.
Aquino said that under Singson's leadership, the DPWH canceled 19 of 86 post-Ondoy and Pepeng infrastructure projects worth P3.5 billion for not undergoing public bidding.
He added that the DPWH has saved P2.12 billion in government funds from July 2010 to April 2011 due to stricter implementation of public bidding rules. He said he expects DPWH savings to reach P7 billion by the end of the year.
The President also announced the launch of DPWH's 24-hour hotline on August 19. He said DPWH hotline 165-02 will allow any Filipino to send in comments and complaints to the DPWH at any time.
"Sagisag itong palaging bukas ang inyong ahensya sa anumang suhestiyon at reklamo na magbibigay-daan sa paghahatid ng mas mataas na kalidad ng serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan," he said.